Joy from Peace
Well, the advent theme for this week is "joy" yet, from a human perspective there is little to prompt such joy, especially in the light of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, the thuggery on the streets and council chambers of Northern Ireland draped in a Union flag, the ongoing economic woes and, from a personal perspective, more than a few "issues."
I may not have found Quincy Jones' version of "Rejoice Greatly," but here, to brighten your morning, is another update of a classic, this time "Joyful, Joyful" from Sister Act 2 - words set to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" by Henry van Dyke in what has been described as "one of the most joyous expressions of hymn lyrics in the English language."
So I thought I'd try to get the day off on the right footing. I was going to post a video of Quincy Jones' version of Handel's "Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion." But I couldn't find a decent version. However, I always find it interesting that for the lyrics of this part of what has become a Christmas staple, Handel chose words from the prophecy of Zechariah which are more often associated Palm Sunday and the subsequent passion than Advent and Christmas.
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle-bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
In a world that seems to think that violence is the answer to every problem it is important to remember that the joy Jesus brings is founded on the peace that we celebrated last week...
Zechariah 9:9-10 (ANIV)
The humble entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, echoes his humble entry into the world (though, I hasten to remind you, in contravention of nativity play tradition - there is no donkey in the nativity narratives of Matthew and Luke). The path of peace that brings real joy is not forged by a war horse or chariot, a Humvee or an Abrams Tank... The battle bow will be broken, as so will the AK47s, assault rifles and Uzis.
In this season of Advent may we say "Amen - Come Lord Jesus." May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven... And may it begin in me.